Les larmes de bougie - 1
LES LARMES DE BOUGIE - Journey into time - Journey backward into time - Death of a woodlander - Georges Simenon - 1938 (La Rochelle)

The story - a summary
In a hamlet of a past era, located in the heart of the Forêt d' Orleans, the old sisters Potru, Amélie and Marguerite, were the victims of an attack.
One of the sisters, Marguerite, died as a result.
Stocks and bonds disappeared from the house. Marguerite's son out of wedlock, Marcel, a notorious drunkard, who spent the evening of the crime in the sisters' house is arrested. He had left many fingerprints in the house.
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Drops of tallow on a barrel reveal to Maigret the true version facts: benefiting from circumstances that would not fail to make Marcel the most probable suspect, Amélie, who hated her sister's son, killed Marguerite. She hid the stocks and bonds in a barrel and wounded herself voluntarily.(1)
"Le Forêt d'Orléans"
These woods in the environs of the city of Orléans are the remaining part of enormous forests that, until the Middle Ages, covered the greater part of northern France.
La nuit du
carrefour
La guinguette
à deux sous
L' inspecteur
Cadavre
The Orléans forest
Les larmes
de bougie - 1
The name of the hamlet where this short story is situated is not mentioned.
Maigret arrives by train in Vitry-aux-Loges and, not being able to find a taxicab, he asks the local butcher to grant him a ride.

"Now they found themselves in the middle of the Orléans Forest. For about 10 kilometers the butcher's van drove amidst enormous forest giants. Then they arrived in a village situated on an open space in the woods...
- Is it here?
- No, the next village...
Again they arrived on an open spot in the forest, smaller this time and there they found about thirty little low roofed houses surrounding a church with a pointed steeple." (2)


Les larmes
de bougie - 2
Vente à la
bougie
La maison
du juge
Mon ami
Maigret
Maigret à
Vichy
l'Affaire
Saint-Fiacre
Analysis of the locality
L'Auberge aux
noyés
A study of the map of the region of Vitry-aux-Loges and the Forêt d'Orléans shows that this village is very probably Ingrannes or the hamlet of La Cour Dieu, which is two kilometers further on the road.
Although Ingrannes is situated only 7 kilometers from Vitry it is by far the only village that corresponds with the portrayal in the story.
Le notaire de
Châteauneuf
M.Gallet, décédé
Le charretier de
"La Providence"
Chez les
Flamands
A study of the map of the region of Vitry-aux-Loges and the Forêt d'Orléans shows that this village is very probably Ingrannes or the hamlet of La Cour Dieu, which is two kilometers further on the road.
Although Ingrannes is situated only 7 kilometers from Vitry it is by far the only village that corresponds with the portrayal in the story.
"... now he worked as a woodman in the forest. He lived ten kilometers further on in a decayed cottage, by the lake of Loup-Pendu."(2)
In the non-Maigret novel Cours d'Assises (Justice) by Simenon , a not too bright gigolo called Louis Bert connects with an older lady who lives in Nice. In the course of his attempts to get as much money out of her as possible he rummages trough her correspondence and finds a letter from her solicitor in which he reports:

"...Mister Robin, who is already the proprietor of the farm Loup-Pendu, presses on the point of you selling him your house at Ingrannes. This week he bade hundred and fifty thousand Francs for it."(3)

In the "Biographic traces" by Pierre Deligny resumed in Simenon, Mes apprentisages (Repères biographique), under the year 1935 we read:

" (Simenon) returned to Europe in the middle of the month of May, in the Château de la Cour-Dieu in Ingrannes (Loiret), he retreated to shape the numerous notes about his recent travels for publication "(4)
Go to Les larmes de bougie - 2
Images
From top to bottom:
- Views of the Forêt d'Orléans from the WebSite of the Conseille Général du loiret: http://www.loiret.com/cgloiret/staticcontent/la_foret.php
- Composition of a drawing of Maigret's silhouette from the cover of: Georges Simenon, "Maigret hesite", Presses de la Cite, Paris and map on http://www.1bis.com/1bis/. Design G. de Croock.
- Mediasys - Images de la France d'autrefois. Old postcard of the main street of Vitry-aux-Loges in the beginning of the twentieth century. Despite this pictures dates from about 20 years before this short story was written, without a doubt the depicted situation corresponds far more with the conditions in Simenon's time than the present-day situation.
- The parvis in Ingrannes to-day, photo from the Ingrannes website. Although the picture is headed off it is obvious that the roof of the church-tower is narrow and has a very small angle which makes it pointed as Simenon describes.
http://www.coeur-de-france.com/ingrannes.html
Notes
(1) Translation and compilation from: Maurice Piron, L'Univers de Simenon, Presses de la Cité, Paris, 1983, p.441. Translation of excerpt: G. de Croock.
(2) Georges Simenon, Les larmes de bougie, 1938. Excerpt translated in English by G. de Croock out of the Dutch edition, "De druppels kaarsvet" in "Maigret en meneer maandag", vertaling K.H. Romijn, A.W. Bruna & Zoons Uitgeversmij. b.v., Utrecht,1985.
(3) Georges Simenon, Cours d'Assises, 1941, Galimard, Paris.
(4) Georges Simenon, Simenon - Mes apprentissages, Reportages 1931-1946, Etablie et présentée par Francis Lacassin, 2001,Omnibus. Excerpt translation: G. de Croock.
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La nuit du carrefour - 1, - 2
La guinguette à deux sous - 1, - 2
L' inspecteur Cadavre - 1, - 2, - 3
Les larmes de bougie - 1, - 2
Vente à la bougie - 1, - 2
La maison du juge - 1, - 2, - 3
Mon ami Maigret - 1, - 2, - 3
Maigret à Vichy - 1, - 2
l'Affaire Saint-Fiacre - 1, - 2
l'Auberge aux Noyés - 1, - 2
Le notaire de Chéteauneuf - 1, - 2
M.Gallet, décédé - 1, - 2, - 3
Le charretier de "La Providence" - 1, - 2
Chez les Flamands - 1, - 2